On Sunday, Queen Camilla hosted her inaugural Queen’s Reading Room Literary Festival at Hampton Court Palace in her signature bright blue color — no surprise there — but was it a maxi dress? Was it wide pants and a matching top? Or was it – my goodness, it was – a jumpsuit!
Anna Valentine’s cobalt blue jumpsuit has been split for many reasons, starting with the main one, which is that we’re not 100 percent sure that a jumpsuit—a statement, ultra-wide leg, floaty wool crepe all-in- one – is exactly what we expected from the Queen in an official engagement.
While we’re pretty far along the path to jumpsuit appreciation, and fully expect Amanda Holden and Amal Clooney to wear them everywhere, the queen in a jumpsuit is still a bit incongruous.
It’s kind of like the Theresa May leather-pants-on-a-prime minister moment: there’s nothing wrong with the idea in principle, but here and now it doesn’t quite work.
You won’t find a bigger jumpsuit fan than me, but I was shocked when I saw the photos. You can wear a jumpsuit anywhere these days, but the question is, should you.
On Sunday, Queen Camilla hosted her inaugural Queen’s Reading Room Literary Festival at Hampton Court Palace in her signature bright blue color
All white: Amal Clooney in Stella McCartney for her 2014 civil wedding ceremony
On the spot: Jodie Comer wore a Valentino all-in-one in New York last month
A step forward: Amanda Holden in Me+Em earlier this month
I would have preferred Camilla in yet another drawstring dress in that striking blue she and Kate love, partly because an ankle-length sporty dress might have been more appropriate for the occasion, but mostly because she looked more to himself. Less flooded.
It’s not that I think 75-year-old Camilla is too old to wear a jumpsuit. That’s not it. I see her walking the dogs in navy overalls and sneakers. I see her preparing dinner for her children in the kitchen at Highgrove one Sunday night, wearing a Marks & Spencer viscose khaki all-in-one with a pair of comfortable wedge slippers.
But a dressy jumpsuit like the one Anna Valentine wore she wore falls, on the scale of wearable jumpsuits, right into the risky, red-lights-flashing, know-your-limits-and-check-with-a-very-good friend zone.
There are jumpsuits that you put on and go and jumpsuits that are meant to make entrances, and the Anna Valentine number is the last and therefore approached with caution.
We all know what Camilla was thinking. Why not wear something a little more relaxed, a little less dressy than a dress? Wouldn’t it put people at ease? Would I no longer feel comfortable? She probably stood in front of a full-length mirror and decided, “This looks like a long dress, but less formal.”
Daring: Camilla in Anna Valentine on Sunday, left and above last year
Flat: Charlene of Monaco in Terrence Bray last year
Wavy: The Countess of Wessex wears Emilia Wickstead for Royal Ascot in 2019
Most likely she thought, ‘I’ve had a hit before with this kind of thing [more of which in a moment] so why not again?’ But what she might not have counted on—and the part that only the most seasoned jumpsuit wearer is hypersensitive to—is the exit effect.
With pants, turn around and see if my ass looks big. With jumpsuits like these, you also need to check the forward gaze – what happens when you step out, put one foot in front of the other, and what used to be a simple column becomes an all-in-one with swishing, flailing, voluminous legs. You can look overwhelmed in a jumpsuit, not to put too much emphasis on it, and sometimes it’s less about the cut than the color.
Camilla has form when it comes to wearing dressy jumpsuits. In 2019, she wore a navy blue with white trim sleeves, also by Anna Valentine, on a royal tour of New Zealand. She wore it again in the summer of last year for the opening of the Commonwealth Games.
On both occasions, she looked as good as she ever looked — which is a very good thing — and you can see why she was tempted to try out the style again.
But – all-in-one fans take note – in dark navy, this fitted jumpsuit, with its deep front slit, looks like a narrow caftan-style dress worn open over an underskirt.
You’re not aware of the flowy legs underneath – it all blends into one elegant, sleek look.
In the bright blue, however, there is no hiding place, and a dress cum jumpsuit immediately becomes less flattering and silhouette-constricting – as Princess Charlene at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix and the Countess of Wessex at Ascot in 2019 found to their detriment.
It’s one of the reasons why the midlife woman’s best friend — especially when it comes to something different, bold, or revealing — is navy blue.
Can’t wait to see Camilla back in the Navy now.
Ignore the doubters, she looks fantastic!
By Dinah van Tulleken, Daily Mail fashion editor
A tailored flared jumpsuit in vibrant cobalt blue would be a bold choice for an ‘influencer’ in her 20s – so it’s not surprising there was a sharp inhalation as Camilla strode forward in her jaw-dropping outfit.
I may be an oddball here, but I thought she looked fantastic.
Fashion often gives the impression that trends are for young people and that there are styles that women ‘above a certain age’ should not go near. To me, Camilla – at 75 – proves that you can wear whatever you want, whenever you want.
Regal: Princess Victoria of Sweden
Elegant: Queen Mathilde of Belgium
That bright blue all-in-one was a refreshing choice, considerably more exciting than a predictable summer midi, especially for a woman who isn’t usually thought of as someone we look to for style inspiration.
Camilla doesn’t often grab the spotlight, but this time she definitely wanted to draw attention to herself.
Perhaps this was because founding The Queen’s Reading Room – a charity set up to promote literacy in children and adults – is her first major solo achievement as Queen.
That bright blue all-in-one was a refreshing choice, considerably more exciting than a predictable summer midi
She went for practicality, but it’s also fun and frivolous – which is exactly what fashion should be. And it was wise to avoid anything sticky. No danger of confusing this elegant crepe design with a catsuit: when it comes to all-in-ones, it’s essential to steer clear of anything you wore in the 1980s.
The fabulous, exaggeratedly flared legs elevate the look and are flattering at the same time. The cleverly placed darts accentuate her waist. The sleeve length is perfect (not always easy with an all-in-one). Note the satin cuffs, a gloriously understated flourish. The zip collar is a fun, youthful touch.
A jumpsuit bridges the gap between dressy and casual – but this one is also, most definitely, a statement look.
It’s one that Europe’s royals have long advocated for – from Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
And, if I’m being honest, Camilla was probably the last of the royals I looked to for fashion inspiration, but I’ll be keeping an eye on her from now on.